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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Don't get me wrong, they were certainly at the center of the storm, and for the establishment, represented the hedonistic alt lifestyle that caused fathers to fear for their daughters (I can just imagine you and Ring and the heartache you caused? :) ), but in a "drop out,...live a good life, and be kind..." kinda way? IE, the connections to those folks were often not of their choosing, and I see Garcia as the ultimate cynic, ever retreating to do his own thing.

In essence, I see the DEAD as a huge flashing light for "do your own thing, don't hurt anyone while doing it if possible, and be wary of anyone with a cause". Seriously.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Actually, that's how I tend to hear Cream Puff War. Which I think is a wrong interpretation ... it's just Jerry trying to express something he's observed about a relationship. But I hear parts of it as also expressing, "we're tired of you folks wallowing in anger and shouting it out on the streets." It's almost as if that aspect of his inclination comes out in a subtle way when he tried to be a more typical songwriter. Though probably I'm over-analyzing.

The funny thing is that I bet I went to more protests and so on over the years than Dead shows. I definitely did my share of planning rallies, handing out fliers, etc. (I mean, sheesh, just cuz I missed Vietnam didn't mean I had to miss the fun!) I didn't feel a contradiction, but I also would never say the Dead were political. Radical in their own way, sure, but not political as a band. (Whatever they might have thought or said individually ... or not.) Of course, you can always say "the personal is political," and then that covers just about everything :-)

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

>be wary of anyone with a cause".

Estimated Prophet is in this vein also, altho more about steering clear of religious causes than political.

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Poster: BornEasement Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

For another perspective... I think someone like Harold Bloom would describe them as straddling the border between the "Green" (think pastoral and transcendant) and the "Black" (Apocalyptic, existential, eschatological) artistic ethea.

Generally the "red" (revolutionary, political, social-materialistic) paradigm was contained to those few bobby songs that have been listed here.

but then, if I wanted colours, I would just listen to Donovan.

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Poster: matchstickstatue Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

I've always thought of the Dead's relation to real politics as comparable to Kerouac's. Burroughs nails it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD4ofEoUpxE

Certainly K was apolitical, and by the end even reactionary; but without that shining example, you don't have the progressive action of Ginsberg, Sanders and the wider 60s revolt, even if he grew to hate them (and himself) for it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you could say the same of the Dead, whose fruits in carrying that generation's legacy on to others weren't expected or desired by the band, but can certainly be traced back to a clear tree.

Incidentally, you can get the first half of that Firing Line episode, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaBnIzY3R00&;feature=related

We'll never get TV like that again.